Background Information
The Department of Urban & Regional Planning was founded in 2016 in the School of Architecture and the Built Environment. The department of urban & regional planning was initiated to train  specialists in urban & regional planning that are well grounded in both theoretical and empirical analysis of planning approaches and processes in the face of globalisation to better respond to growing challenges of rapid urbanisation.


Specialty and Branding
The Department of Urban & Regional Planning offers Bachelor of Science in Urban & Regional Planning. Graduates from the program in this department will be employed in both the public and private sector as physical planners, spatial analysts, land-use planners, urban planners, project managers among others in national and county governments. The national urban development authority NEMA will find skills of spatial planners crucial for development control to ensure sustainable development. Other opportunities for work exist in private consultancy after professional registration and licensing by the PPRB.

Internal Links
The Department of Urban & Regional Planning is one of the inaugural departments in the School of Architecture and the Built Environment. The school urrently has three departments. The Department of Urban & Regional Planning offers one degree programme namely Urban & Regional Planning (URP) at bachelors and masters levels. 

External Links
The Department of Urban & Regional Planning is an associate partner in the Bayreuth-Bordeaux-Porto consortium on the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) project entitled “European Interdisciplinary Master African Studies (EIMAS)”

Research activities

Staff members in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning are carrying out research in the following broad areas: Housing, mobility, climate change, disaster management.

Ms. Dainah Kinya is part of a multidisciplinary team that is working on a research funded by the International Development Research Center (IDRC) researching on “Up-scaling Respect for Rights and Access to Basic Services for Informal Settlements in Kenya.” She is currently doing her PhD through a scholarship with Robert Bostch Stiftung through the Pan-African College for Sustainable Cities. The programme is a collaborative initiative between five universities; University Cape Town, University of Witwatersrand, University of Nairobi, United Nations University for Natural Resources in Africa and University of Ghana.

Mr. Jackson Kago is researching on “mobility patterns in small and intermediate towns and their impact on urban rural linkages along the Ruiru Uplands transect.” The research utilizes both qualitative and quantitative techniques to assess both the usability and operational aspects of mobility by interviewing both operators, stakeholders and users of modes of transport. The research has a particular focus on the milk value chain. The study also gives rationale for more in depth mobility analysis as part of the formulation of key infrastructure investments in the transport sector especially focusing on the socio-cultural considerations. This is part of his PhD in human geography that he is undertaking through a sandwich scholarship at the University of Bordeaux Montagne funded by the French Embassy in Kenya.

Mr. Julius Waititu is working on a PhD research entitled “Developing a spectral index to identify Lantana camara L. Invasive shrub from co-occurring vegetation.” This research is funded through a USD 14,050 grant by International Foundation for Science (IFS). This, this research focusses on lantana mapping through hyperspectral and multispectral remote sensing. Notably, very few studies have employed hyperspectral data in mapping the invasive species. Therefore, the method will involve modelling the species spectral responses during its various growth stages to determine its unique separability with co-occurring vegetation using field hyperspectral remote sensing. This spectral information will be needed for development of a unique spectral index for its discrimination from the rest of vegetation with hyperspectral and multispectral images. In addition, the modelling part will provide insights on the best time for its mapping and application of control measures within invaded habitats. The project’s outcomes will provide immediate assessment on areas under lantana within area of study. In addition, the study would set precedence and define a novel methodology to map the expert of various invasive species, in a bid to design their control measures. Alien invasive species negatively affect the functions of fragile ecosystems such as forest resources, water resources, and agriculture. Lantana camara L. invasive species has been listed as an agent of biodiversity change in natural habitats since its introduction in Kenya in the 1950s. Its adaptability and fast spread to new habitats such as disturbed protected areas have led to ad-hoc mapping campaigns by agencies such as the Kenya Wildlife Service although its complete eradication has not succeeded. More often than not, mapping campaigns have involved traversing the ground to map species presences thereby raising the costs and duration of these mapping surveys. Alternative methodologies involving the use of remote sensing data could be employed so as to balance on costs and accuracy in invasive species monitoring system for effective conservation actions.

Developing a spectral index to identify Lantana camara L. Invasive shrub from co-occurring vegetation

Dr. Patricia Mwangi’s has been working on “Modelling the Spatial Relationship between Built-up Volumes and Surface Urban Heat Islands in Upper Hill, Nairobi City County, Kenya.” The research entailed the use of multi-temporal data from stereo-aerial imagery and satellite imagery. 3D city models were generated to determine the volumetric and areal changes that buildings in Upper Hill had undergone between the years 1978 and 2017. Volumes of roads were also included in the study as they are important contributors to the urban heat island effect that cities are facing. Land cover and land surface temperature changes derived from satellite imagery were important in determining drivers and direction of development as well as the impact changes in land cover have on land surface temperatures. Modeling results derived from the relationship between the urban morphological datasets derived in the study with land surface temperature are important to policy makers as cities face challenges of changing climate. This research is also crucial is determining mitigative and adaptive measures with climate change within our cities.

Ms. Mildred Ambani is researching on Industrial Gentrification and Urban Land Use Transformation in Nairobi’s Industrial Area. The study focuses on the transformational trends of the industrial zone, the drivers of industrial gentrification, in regard to the different actors and relevant policies, and the social-spatial industrial development displacements. It also endeavours to review the land development patterns that have occurred in Nairobi’s Industrial Area since the 1948 master plan. The study seeks to establish the model to which industrial gentrification in Nairobi industrial zone conforms. The models under consideration are Decline/Dwindling, Relocation/Space Restriction, and Complimentary Needs models. Further, it reviews the theoretical underpinnings of industrial gentrification such as theories of invasion and succession and the bid rent theory. This is part of her PhD in Planning that she is undertaking at the University of Nairobi.

EMERGING ISSUES
During the last four decades, Kenya has witnessed rapid urban growth rates of around 5%, which have seen the urban population rise from 8% at independence to 27.51 percent in 2019. It is projected that about 50% of the Kenyan population will be urbanized by the year 2030. About 70% of those residing in urban areas live in informal settlements lacking basic infrastructure and services, a situation that is likely to deteriorate in the absence of innovative planning solutions and adequate investment in infrastructure and services. The country has made efforts to train skilled manpower in spatial planning and urban management, but the rapid growth in demand has far exceeded supply. This in part explains pathetic urban and regional systems, which calls for reconfiguration of skills development to better respond to growing challenges. The need to sharpen training and research in spatial planning while deepening specialization in areas such as urban and regional forms and functions is even more urgent. We need to train specialists in Urban & Regional Planning that are well grounded in both theoretical and empirical analysis of planning approaches and processes as well as resulting forms and functions in the face of globalization. Such specialists should be able develop innovative solutions to planning and environmental problems while taking cognizance of planning history and the emerging African spatial forms. This becomes important because of the failures of the western models to effectively and efficiently address the spatial planning and urban management challenges in the country. Globally, Agenda 21 emphasizes the central role of well-planned human settlements for sustainable development. Goal number one states that “human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature”. Locally, the national spatial plan and the national urban policy stress the need for comprehensive and integrated spatial planning but decry the lack of skilled capacity in planning. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 Article no. 42 guarantees the right of every citizen to a clean and healthy environment which is the main goal of the Urban & Regional Planning.

The following are the programs in the department:

Justification of the need of the Programme.
During the last four decades, Kenya has witnessed rapid urban growth rates of around 5%, which have seen the urban population rise from 8% at independence to 27.51 percent in 2019. It is projected that about 50% of the Kenyan population will be urbanized by the year 2030. About 70% of those residing in urban areas live in informal settlements lacking basic infrastructure and services, a situation that is likely to deteriorate in the absence of innovative planning solutions and adequate investment in infrastructure and services.
The country has made efforts to train skilled manpower in spatial planning and urban management, but the rapid growth in demand has far exceeded supply. This in part explains pathetic urban and regional systems, which calls for reconfiguration of skills development to better respond to growing challenges. The need to sharpen training and research in spatial planning while deepening specialization in areas such as urban and regional forms and functions is even more urgent. We need to train specialists in spatial planning and urban management that are well grounded in both theoretical and empirical analysis of planning approaches and processes as well as resulting forms and functions in the face of globalisation. Such specialists should be able develop innovative solutions to planning and environmental problems while taking cognisance of planning history and the emerging African spatial forms. This becomes important because of the failures of the western models to effectively and efficiently address the spatial planning and urban management challenges
in the country.
Globally, Agenda 21 emphasizes the central role of well-planned human settlements for sustainable development. Goal number one states that “human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature”. Locally, the national spatial plan and the national urban policy stress the need for comprehensive and integrated spatial planning but decry the lack of skilled capacity in planning. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 Article no. 42 guarantees the right of every citizen to a clean and healthy environment which is the main goal of the spatial planning and urban management.

Professional Affiliation and Accreditation
The Kenya Institute of Planners (KIP) is the professional body that articulates the goals of physical/ spatial/land-use planners in Kenya. The Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) has a planning chapter that caters for Architect planners. Regionally, The Department will be affiliated to the African Association of Planning Schools (AAPS) is a regional association for schools of planning which aims at quality training, research and collaboration in curriculum development and peer reviews. AAPS is also a member of the Global Association of Planning Schools (GPEAN). Internationally, the department will also collaborate with the Commonwealth Association of Planners, The Royal Town Planning Institute, The American Association of Planners among others for professional peer review and exchange of planning knowledge and experiences. The registration and licensing for planners in Kenya is conducted by the Physical Planners Registration Board (PPRB). The board is mandated through the Physical Planners Registration Act, (Cap no.3 of 1996) to regulate the training and practice of the planning profession.

Career Options

Graduates from programs in this department will be employed in both the public and private sector as physical planners, spatial analysts, land-use planners, urban planners, project managers among other professionals in national and county governments. The national urban development authority NEMA will find skills of spatial planners crucial for development control to ensure sustainable development. Other opportunities for work exist in private consultancy after professional registration and licensing by the PPRB.

Goal of the Programme
This Urban & Regional Planning programme intends to train well balanced planners that will be in a position to face contemporary planning challenges at any scale. The programme seeks to ensure that its goals are in line with the requirements of professional bodies affiliated with the profession. This will ensure that its graduates are accredited and recognized within the different organizations.

Master of Urban Management (Resource Efficient Cities)
This concept of resource efficient cities is in line with The new Global Initiative for Resource Efficiency Cities” a UNEP Initiative launched after the Rio+20 summit in Brazil, 2012 which focuses on resource efficiency measures to achieve sustainable urban development. It aims at providing cities with a common framework for assessing environmental performance and encouraging innovative sustainability measures. There is an urgent need for coordinated action on urban sustainability. This is essential both for preventing irreversible degradation of resources and ecosystems, and for realizing the multiple benefits of greener cities, from savings through energy- efficient buildings, or the health and climate benefits of cleaner fuels and vehicles. The Interdisciplinary Master Program on Resource Efficient Cities (IMaREC) provides a platform for coordinated action through an integrated view of engineering, social, political and economic sciences.

Goal of the programme
The Goal of the programme is to train high level experts in urban management who can provide leadership and train others to respond to the goals of sustainable citiesdevelopment. Philosophy of the Programme The Philosophy of the programme is responsiveness to the principle of sustainable cities through planning, urban management and the efficient utilization of resources.

Rationale of the Programme
The new academic Master of Urban Management (Resource Efficient Cities) aims at organizing interdisciplinary teams around research areas that apply science and technology to effectively and efficiently address challenges facing cities. Efforts and activities will be directed to promote energy efficient buildings, efficient water use, sustainable waste management and other measures to achieve sustainable urban development.

Admission requirements for the proposed programme
The common Regulations for Admission into the Masters’ Degrees in Kenyatta University shall apply
The Following shall be eligible for Admission into the Master of Urban Management in Resource Efficient Cities -

  • A holder of a Second Class (Upper Division) degrees and above or its equivalent in Spatial Planning and Urban Management, Environmental Studies (Planning and Management), Environmental Studies, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies and Community Development, Environmental Education, Urban and Regional Planning; Geography, Economics, Surveying and Photogrammetry, Land Economics, Building Economics, Estate Management, Housing Technology, Engineering, Sociology, Agriculture, Forestry and Wildlife, Zoology, Botany, Architecture; Law and other relevant undergraduate programmes from a recognized university.
  • A holder of a Second Class Honors (Lower Division) degree in the above mentioned areas with at least two years of experience.

 

Internal Links
The Department of Urban & Regional Planning is one of the inaugural departments in the School of Architecture and the Built Environment. The school currently has three departments. The Department of Urban & Regional Planning offers one degree programme namely Urban & Regional Planning (URP) at bachelors and masters levels.

External Links
The Department of Urban & Regional Planning is an associate partner in the Bayreuth-Bordeaux-Porto consortium on the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) project entitled “European Interdisciplinary Master African Studies (EIMAS)”

  • Prof. Isaac Mwangi Karanja

Prof. Karanja Mwangi, MKIP FKIP

Prof. Karanja Mwangi is a distinguished scholar and Associate Professor and Chairman at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Nairobi. He is widely published in planning and connected matters with two of his scholarly refereed journal papers highly regarded internationally, namely; “The Nature of Rental Housing in Kenya” (1997), and “Tracks and Levels of Planning Methodology” (2007). His latest paper titled “A Case for Comprehensive Urban Regeneration in the Eastlands’ Ten Oldest Housing Estates, Nairobi City County – Kenya” (2015); has for the first time illuminated conceptual realms of the “Eastlands”, the actual area it covers and its practical relevance to successful urban regeneration in the city of Nairobi. His ongoing research focuses on substance and context of “county planning methodology”. Prof. Mwangi is a former Chairman of the Kenya Institute of Planners (KIP) where he is a founder member and fellow of the Institute. He is registered and Certified Planner (K) and a Director at Mipango Institute, a consultancy and training entity. He has over ten years practical experience as researcher, technical support and advisory services expert in planning which he acquired at the Uninvited Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD). As a practicing planner Prof. Mwangi was the national planning expert for Ewaso Ngiro North Integrated Regional Development Plan, Mombasa Mainland South and Kwale District Regional Physical Development Plan and Nyandarua District Integrated Regional Development Plan. More recently he was a Lead Expert in integrated planning for TARDA and ENSDA, and a consultant planner for UNDP and Marsabit County Government in county integrand development plan (CIDP). He has also consulted as Lead EIA and Audit (EIA & Audit) expert for China Wu Yi (K) Ltd among others. These attributes which he acquired over the years makes him a balanced planning scholar and practitioner. Prof. Mwangi earned his B.Sc. (Hons) and M.A. (Planning) from University of Nairobi and PhD (Planning) at School of Planning, University of Waterloo, Ontario Canada. He briefly worked for the Government of Republic of Kenya as Planner for the old greater Meru District which today forms Meru County and Tharaka Nithi County before he joined academia.

  1. Prof. Aggrey Thuo - Associate Professor
  2. Prof. Elijah Njuguna Ndegwa - Adjunct Professor
  3. Dr. Peter Kamau - Senior Lecturer
  4. Dr. Laji Adoyo– Lecturer 
  5. Dr. Patricia Wanjiku Mwangi – Lecturer
  6. Dr. Keziah Mwanga - Lecturer
  7. Mr. Jackson Kago - Lecturer 
  8. Mr. James Wanyoike Wanjiku - Tutorial Fellow
  9. Dinah Kinya - Tutorial Fellow
  10. Ms. Alice A. Menya - Tutorial Fellow
  11. Mr. Julius Maina Waititu - Tutorial Fellow
  12. Mr. John Kimani - Tutorial Fellow
  13. Ms. Mildred Murende Ambani - Tutorial Fellow
  14. Ms. Eunice Kumunga - Lecturer
  15. Mr. Edwin Wamukaya- Lecturer
  16. Martin Karugu – GIS Technician
  17. Bolly Kevin Echessa – GIS Technician

Specializations

The Department of Urban & Regional Planning has 15 members of staff comprising; 1 Associate Professor, 1 Adjunct Professor, 1 Senior Lecturer and 4 Lecturers, 6 Tutorial Fellows and 2 technicians. The staff members have qualifications in the following areas:

  • Policy and Planning Science
  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Environmental Planning
  • Urban Management
  • Architecture
  • Urban Studies
  • Urban Design
  • Urban Development & Design
  • Geomatics & Natural Resources Evaluation
  • Geospatial Engineering
  •  Environmental Studies (Planning & Management)
  • Geo-information Science & Earth Observation for Geo-Informatics
  • Geospatial Engineering
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Geo-Informatics Engineering

Career
Graduates from programs in this department will be employed in both the public and private sector as physical planners, spatial analysts, land-use planners, urban planners, project managers among others in national and county governments. The national urban development authority NEMA will find skills of spatial planners crucial for development control to ensure sustainable development. Other opportunities for work exist in private consultancy after professional registration and licensing by the PPRB.
Resources
In addition to the highly qualified staff, the Department has three urban planning studios which have drawing boards suited for maximum A1 paper sizes and drawer storage for each student’s work. A computer laboratory for the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, with internet access is also available to students.

The Department of Urban & Regional Planning offers Bachelor of Science in Urban & Regional Planning. Graduates from the program in this department will be employed in both the public and private sector as physical planners, spatial analysts, land-use planners, urban planners, project managers among others in national and county governments. The national urban development authority NEMA will find skills of spatial planners crucial for development control to ensure sustainable development. Other opportunities for work exist in private consultancy after professional registration and licensing by the PPRB.

 Esther Mwangi
Esther Wangari Mwangi, Fourth Year Student, 2020
My name is Esther Wangari Mwangi a student at Kenyatta University School of Architecture and the Built Environment, Department of Urban and Regional Planning year 2016-2020. My experience within the department has been amazing. I met people from different parts of the country who became my classmates and we blended in so well with regards to class work and school activities. Teachers and staff within the department are also friendly and willing to help the students achieve their dreams. The best part was working with well experienced teachers who would give us real life situation examples and share their work experiences with us in class. It was great scoop of knowledge for the four years that I was part of the department. Thank you, Kenyatta University department, of Urban and Regional Planning.
 MARGARET BOGOMBA
Margaret Bogomba Ogachi, Fourth Year Student, 2020
Studying urban and regional planning at Kenyatta University has been an amazing opportunity to learn from a group of outstanding peers and professionals while expanding my world view. The program has been a great contributor to the development of my personality. It has helped advance my leadership, time management, and team skills to the whole augment level. Through the studios, I was introduced to planning and design aspects in fieldwork that enabled me to relate classwork to real-life scenarios. The studios have helped me develop skills, content, and networks to plan communities that promote physical, social, and mental well-being. While completing my undergraduate research project, I had the pleasure of working with and being critiqued by supervisors who were passionate about the way my work progressed. As I look back, it's clear that this program has had a large impact in my profession as a planner and student, all while having fun with a tight group of students in the program.
 
Evans Ongachi Onchiri, Fourth Year Student, 2020
My name is Evans Ongachi Onchiri, a final year student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning in Kenyatta University. Reflecting back 4 years ago when I joined the school to the young professional I’ve become, I feel I owe a big debt of gratitude to the department, my lecturers and the entire school as a whole. This is a school that will transform a blur vision to a clear one, a uninformed mindset to an informed one, a young student to a professional and lastly, a basic person to an important one in the society. This is a department I’d highly recommend to anyone who needs help in orienting their lives to a bright future.